Amazon Does it Again (Why Can’t Anyone Else?)

I soiled myself this afternoon, just a little. And it wasn’t from the pizza I left out overnight (again). The afore stated befoulment happened after skimming an email I received from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

I always read these emails close enough to see if for some magical reason Amazon has selected me to be the next instant rags-to-riches self-pubbed author. (I have delusions, okay?) This time, I quickly realized the email was about the Kindle Countdown Deals I learned of this morning (from another blog I follow).

The Kindle Countdown Deals Go Beyond Cute

I hadn’t looked too closely into the “countdown deals,” instead dismissing it as another nifty Amazon strategy to suck authors and publishers into exclusivity with KDP (via KDP Select). I decided a year ago that KDP wasn’t really for me. The benefit of being able to easily “pulse” scheduled promotions of my titles didn’t override my desire to spread my content far and wide.

I don’t like to be tied down. One committed relationship in my life is enough. I’m a child of Generation X, dagnabbit. The man’s constantly trying to get me down, and I don’t even know who the man is! (Oh, it’s Amazon, that’s right.)

Anyway, so back to the reason I had to bidet my backside. On the surface, the Countdown Deal allows the author/publisher to run a promotion on Amazon which displays an actual countdown timer revealing when the promotional deal will expire.

Clever, right? Now the first thing to catch the reader’s eye will be an inanimate salesperson tapping the reader’s shoulder and saying, “This deal is for a limited time only! Get it now, or forever regret your lack of fortitude, you gutless wonder! Don’t shop around! Buy, buy, buy!”

While clever, this is by no means enough to drag me back to KDP Select and its exclusive demands. Then I read the next bullet point in the email I received:

  • Retain a 70% royalty rate – You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate and the promotional price. As a result, if you are using the 70% royalty option, you’ll earn 70% even if the price is below $2.99.

What the crap!? Did I read that right? I mean, son of a–[deep breaths]–

You had me at, ‘$$$.’ [Read more…]

Kobo Writing Life Adds Free Tracking

I’m beside myself with nerdy glee. One of my largest requests for Kobo’s self-publishing platform, Writing Life, has been fulfilled. Now self-pubbers can track their free “sales” or downloads.

Why is this so important? Well, it reveals a mountain of reading and consuming trends inside the loyal kobo using world.

For example:

It turns out that I’ve “sold” 37,566 free downloads in the last year. This is a significant number that far outstrips my free downloads on Amazon. You heard me. I had more downloads of my book, Fistful of Reefer, on Kobo over the last year than Amazon. This tells me that the small fish in a big pond philosophy has some teeth when it comes to Kobo. I was able to get Fistful on top 100 free list on Kobo several months ago (it is currently listed at #100). At the time it was ridiculously hard to find free ebooks on Kobo outside of that list. Now it is possible to find some via category if you have a kobo device (but not via their website).

Why am I happy almost 40,000 people downloaded my product for free?

[Read more…]

Kobo Store Changes: Update!

Here’s a brief update for those of you interested in Kobo (and who wouldn’t be?).

I heard back from an individual within author relations about the current changes going on at the Kobo Book Store. It turns out the version of the book store I have been seeing is a beta roll-out that only 25% of users are currently seeing. I logged out and refreshed and sure enough, the older (and better) version reappeared!

I was reassured that the changes were in progress and that the final product will be much better than the old interface. So far I have noticed that some of the curated lists are beginning to return in the form of visual book-cover-sliders. Plus, I’ve seen a slider for “Hidden Gems,” which appears to be a new curated list (and something tantalizing for writers such as myself, even though all the hidden gems on the list currently appear to be with major publishers).

Reading between the lines of the email communication with said Kobo representative, I came away with my suspicions confirmed that the reviews and star ratings have been nixed due to Amazon’s buyout of Goodreads. I suppose all the realists saw that one coming.

Here is the relevant quote from the email response, “I believe we are working toward creating our own system for leaving reviews, instead of relying on an outside source.” I read this as, “Amazon blew-up our outside source, so now we figure it smart to develop our own.” [Read more…]